Gone are the days when students would carry paper maps of their campuses or college towns and try to learn about navigating the areas around where they lived.
In a fast paced university environment, with back to back classes and a large number of extra curricular activities, students have become very dependent over smartphones.
The following perspectives in the life of an average college student may help explain why:
As a UC Berkeley college student, I cannot recall ONE person who uses a landline telephone at college. With connectivity easier and more accessible than ever before, it is absolutely essential for a college student to have a smartphone.
When I came into college with a Nokia Express Music 3310, I felt like I was handicapped and disconnected from my peers. They would often make plans on an iMessage or WeChat thread, but I was determined to save money. Nevertheless, It was getting lost around Berkeley over and over again that changed my decision and prompted me to get a smartphone.
The savings I was trying to make were not at all worth the stress I had to take for them. Getting an iPhone 5s allowed me easier navigation, and saved me at least an hour of extra walking a day.
In addition, another important factor that comes with smartphones is having data on your phone. An iPhone is useless to carry around off campus, unless you have enough data to help you run Google Maps or other applications that are essential to having a stress-free college experience.
Almost 95% of international students at college do not have a car; therefore, having a smartphone allows students to access a number of apps such as Uber & Lyft, that can serve as a means of transport at the last resort. It also allows access to AC Transit or other local bus and train applications that can allow students to pre-plan departures and not regret wasting an hour waiting for a bus.
Cellular data is almost as important if not more than a smartphone itself.
Taking my own college experience into perspective, there would have been instances where my parents would have reported me missing, had I not seen and replied to their WhatsApp messages while on a road trip with friends. There would have been times where I would have received zero credit for assignments that I remembered were due in half an hour, had I not had enough data to navigate through my university’s web pages and submit assignments.
Without a data plan, I would have missed out on multiple internship opportunities, economical eBay deals, and several other offers, when I wasn't near a stable WiFi connection.
A smartphone, coupled with a well priced data plan can make an international student’s transition into college life much easier.
Semtus is by far, the most reliable source for both of these necessities. As a foreign student, I had no idea who to trust when I first arrived to the U.S.; nevertheless, international students today, have the benefit of knowing there is a source that focuses on their needs and their needs only.
Not only is it a great navigation device and time saver that can help students get things organized, it can also be a laptop of the last resort or the means to reach a cheap taxi without cash or card in hand.
Be it because of Yelp, Venmo, Skype or WhatsApp; my smartphone with my mobile data is my most reliable friend at Berkeley.